Printer giant Xerox has developed a new type of toner which it claims can help cut the overall power consumption of digital printing devices by 15 to 30 per cent.
The new Ultra Low-Melt Emulsion Aggregation Toner was developed by scientists at Xerox Research Centre Canada (XRCC) and has a much lower fusing temperature than previous toners.
The fusing temperature is the heat required to seal the toner on the page, and is the most power-intensive process in printers and multifunction devices, accounting for 50 to 80 per cent of the total power used.
The new toner melts at around 45 degrees Fahrenheit lower than the Emulsion Aggregation toner being used in current Xerox products, but the researchers promised that the change does not compromise image quality or any other aspect of performance.
"This was the most difficult toner design we have ever worked on," said Hadi Mahabadi, Xerox vice president and manager of XRCC.
"We had to push the envelope to the limit to achieve lower melting temperature and higher gloss, while keeping other performance the same as or better than current Emulsion Aggregation toner."
The new nanotechnology-based process uses 40 to 50 per cent less material than standard toner, but yields sharper image quality and higher reliability, according to Xerox.
Scientists and engineers at Xerox, in collaboration with colleagues at Xerox partner company Fuji Xerox, designed and tested several polymers before discovering polyesters that could be combined with other toner ingredients such as coloured pigments and wax particles to form the new material.
Xerox scientists have applied for more than 35 patents related to discoveries made while developing the new toner, 10 of which have already been granted.
The Xerox 700 Digital Colour Press, unveiled in May, is the first product to use the new toner, which is currently being produced in Japan.
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